Cavani, Succi reply to goals from Balotelli, Ibrahimovic as Rosanero force draw in Milan

MILAN - Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had first-half goals cancelled out by second-half efforts from Edinson Cavani and Davide Succi as Palermo held Inter 2-2 at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

It was one-way traffic in the opening period of the Serie A Week 31 clash, with Inter's 18-year-old striker nodding home the opener on 14 minutes before Ibrahimovic added the second from the penalty spot six minutes before the break.

Despite a strong start to the second half by the visitors, Inter looked to be on course for a 23rd league win but Cavani and Succi scored in the space of three minutes to force the draw.

Francesco Toldo for Julio Cesar between the sticks was Mourinho's only change to the team that beat Udinese 1-0 last Sunday. Palermo coach Ballardini also made also one switch to the team that beat Torino by the same score last weekend, bringing in Cassani for Savini at right-back.

The Easter Saturday fixture kicked off after a minute's silence to remember the Abruzzo earthquake victims. All the players wore black armbands while Mourinho donned a black tie as a mark of respect.

Inter had an early chance when the flag stayed down after Ibrahimovic controlled Cambiasso's through ball and lobbed Amelia but his effort was off-target. Balotelli did better five minutes after, rising totally unmarked in the area to head Muntari's left-wing cross beyond a hapless Amelia for his seventh goal in all competitions this season.

SuperMario went close to a quick second, lifting Muntari's floated pass over Amelia and the crossbar before Ibrahimovic tested the Palermo custodian with a fierce angled drive.

Amelia pulled off more saves from Stankovic and Maxwell but there was nothing he could do to stop Ibrahimovic topping the scorers list with his 20th of the season with a powerful penalty kick after a foul in the area by Kjaer.

Palermo came out for the second half all guns blazing but the first chance fell to Balotelli whose curling shot missed by a matter of inches. Rosanero substitute Bresciano volleyed narrowly wide and Toldo made a splendid tipped save from Cavani as the visitors continued their search for a goal.

Their first came in the 73rd minute when Cavani fired diagonal shot past Toldo. The second arrived three minutes later when Bresciano delivered a cross to the back post and Miccoli played first-time into the path of Succi who slid home from close range.

Miccoli went close to a late winner, curling inches wide after drifting past three opponents.

Inter 2-2 Palermo (HT: 2-0)

Scorers: Balotelli 15, Ibrahimovic (pen) 39, Cavani 73, Succi 76.

Inter: 1 Toldo; 39 Santon, 2 Cordoba, 26 Chivu, 6 Maxwell (18 Crespo 79); 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 20 Muntari (7 Figo 79); 5 Stankovic; 45 Balotelli (14 Vieira 74), 8 Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: 22 Orlandoni, 9 Cruz, 16 Burdisso, 25 Samuel.
Coach: José Mourinho.

Palermo: 32 Amelia; 16 Cassani, 24 Kjaer, 80 Carrozzieri, 42 Balzaretti; 8 Migliaccio (23 Bresciano 46), 11 Liverani (5 Bovo 70), 33 Nocerino (19 Succi 57); 30 Simplicio; 7 Cavani, 10 Miccoli.
Subs not used: 1 Ujkani, 4 Tedesco, 25 Savini, 90 Hernandez.
Coach: Davide Ballardini.

Referee: Carmine Russo (Nola).

Booked: Bovo 45+2, Stankovic 65, Succi 76, Chivu 89, Simplicio 90+1.

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